Christian Science Monitor Publishes Two Articles on the School-To-Prison-Pipeline
“School suspensions: Does racial bias feed the school-to-prison pipeline” looks nationwide, at schools’ disparity in suspension and expulsion rates for different groups and why that happens. Read more…
The related article, “Restorative justice: One high school’s path to reducing suspensions by half,” examines the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the impact that restorative justice approaches are already having on the number of expulsions and suspensions.
Tony Smith, OUSD superintendent says,
“We have been working really hard to basically move away from a zero-tolerance strategy … [and create a] culture that is about healing from harm and restoring a sense of relationship. There have been deep and long-term structural reasons … that have excluded and pushed out boys of color, and most often … our African-American boys. The waste of so much human potential is not only unacceptable in Oakland, but across the country.”
OUSD is using a restorative justice approach that also considers he social, emotional and physical well being of the students. In addition, school staff are trained to recognize unconscious bias, in attempt to combat racial disparities in suspensions.
Restorative Justice Counselor Eric Butler tells his students, “A lot of adults have been promising you things and not following through, and I’m sorry for that. It won’t happen with me. I don’t blame. I don’t punish.”
Nineteen OUSD schools have greatly lowered their overall suspension rates, reducing the number of suspensions of African-American boys by 20% in the 2011-2012 school year. Read more….